Antonio Conte is back in football, announced earlier today as the new head coach of Inter Milan. This now officially starts the new chapter of his life and career, one that will be a great challenge both in terms of the football, the emotion (Juventus and Inter fans both scratching their heads a bit today), and all the rest that goes along with in the high stakes, high drama world of football, including the incessant transfer rumors with which he’s already being bombarded (Lukaku, Alexis, Icardi, etc).
But there was time for a bit of reflection on his previous assignment, too, one that began oh so beautifully and ended oh so awkwardly (despite an FA Cup win!). Talking briefly with the BBC’s World Service, Conte summed up his Chelsea experience on factual terms, on the trophies that will always look good on his CV no matter the circumstances.
“I must be delighted with my time at Chelsea.
“Remember when I arrived at Chelsea they were out of the Europa League and Champions League, they had finished 10th in the table. I opened a new chapter for Chelsea with many young players, at the same time I won the Premier League, reached the final of the FA Cup in the first season, and then won the FA Cup in the second season.
“I think to win in England now is very difficult, but I won, and this is the most important thing.”
Winning is indeed our aim, though Conte’s time at Chelsea was also defined by the words “work” and “fight”. Now he’s ready to do the same at Inter. Unsurprisingly, given those two words, it was N’Golo Kanté who got the mention by name from the former head coach, when asked to pick someone out.
“There are many good players, for sure, but if I have to mention one player I would like to mention Kanté.
“We are talking about a special player. Because he always has a smile on his face. He’s a reliable player, a fantastic player. I wish the best for him, always.”
Then again, who wouldn’t want to wish the best for Kanté, always and forever?